LETTER: Disgusted by furniture decision
RE: RDCK furniture:
I cannot overstate the disgust I have with this particular issue strongly enough. I am certain the citizens of the RDCK feel likewise.
I will now address additional problems about which I previously agreed with Mr. John Kettle to wait because I believed a transparent and professional review was forthcoming and therefore these issues would be disclosed and addressed.
Although the outrage has focussed primarily on the awarding of the tendered portion of the office furniture (and the outrage is indeed valid) I wonder if the readers are aware that there is additionally over $120,000 of office furniture being awarded without tender?
Single source contracts for reception, file storage and a new boardroom table. I’m not convinced that any of this is necessary but even if it is, even if, as Mr. Carruthers claims, the current board table is “not conducive” to emergency function, even if a new table is justified then consider this: I requested and received from Mr. Carruthers the drawings and specs for the replacement table and asked the local supplier to price it, including the “plug-ins” so desired by Director Shadrack.
The table that Mr Carruthers and staff wish to purchase for $36,000 can be purchased from the local supplier for $8,729. Obviously, avoiding tender and competitive bids does not serve you and I, the people paying for these toys, very well at all.
As far as proper procedure for the evaluation of the bids, there are numerous problems that, in my opinion, indicate a failure of independent and unbiased treatment.
The most egregious of these is the fact that not one of the three staff that comprised the evaluation committee actually had first-person, physical contact with the equipment being quoted in two of the bids. A fourth person from staff travelled to see, trial, touch, sit in and on the equipment from two of the bidders and then related his opinions and experiences to the three evaluators who then scored the equipment on ergonomics, quality, comfort and function. It is important to note that this fourth person is also the one who, in conjunction with the successful bidder, authored the tender documents. This is plainly biased and utterly unfair by any measure. And is indicative of the whole process as far as I am concerned.
Mr. John Kettle, as chair of the RDCK, promised us a proper review of the selection and awarding of various contracts that are part of the renovation of the RDCK building on Lakeside Drive. The adjudicator designated to do this review withdrew his services half way through the review. The reasons given are vague. I think we can connect the dots.
Regardless, we were promised an unbiased review and the directors of the RDCK have made a clear and conscious decision to go back on their word, to not give us anything of the sort. This is indefensible.
Further, Mr Kettle states that “it was the thought that counted”. Seriously? As if this is an incidental gift to us, that it doesn’t matter what the Board of the RDCK actually does but only what they say? He also states, “I think this has been blown out of proportion, it’s a little scary”. If Mr. Kettle thinks that the waste of taxpayers’ money, to the tune of maybe $50,000 or more, is being blown out of proportion, if he thinks that the siphoning off of $300,000+ dollars from RDCK taxpayers and then, in the difficult economy with which we currently struggle, sending this money completely outside of our area, if he and the directors of the RDCK think that this is being blown out of proportion then I am stunned, no, I weep at the lack of responsibility, empathy and compassion at the RDCK Board table and also with the staff that perpetrated and defended this travesty.
This procurement and the process that led to it have been so wrong, so removed from the values and community that the bureaucracy and the elected representatives purport to serve and work for the benefit of that it has elicited record response and universal condemnation. That the staff and Directors have further decided to brush aside those cries, to ignore and blind themselves to the real will of their constituency... well, I just hope that you all remember this and get yourselves out to vote in the coming municipal and regional election on November 15.